How ions order and disorder in materials is of fundamental interest to the battery technology industry. At Xavier we are in a position of being able to study this phenomena by utilizing the tube furnace and box furnace to synthesize powders via solid state reactions, and grow single crystals of interesting materials using the flux melt method. These samples are then characterized using: the resistivity measurement system to look for phase transitions as we change temperature of the samples; x-ray diffractometer to identify crystal structure and identify signs of structural order or disorder; and atomic force microscope to look for single crystal quality. In collaboration with the chemistry department the manipulation of samples via electrochemistry will allow us to understand the potential battery applications of the materials.
Samples can then be taken to the Advanced Materials Characterization Center of the University of Cincinnati for further characterization.
A select group of projects then will result in application for time on instrumentation at Argonne National Laboratory and/or Oak Ridge National Laboratory where we will measure large three-dimensional datasets of diffuse scattering across a range of physical environments (temperature and/or magnetic field). Upon return to Xavier patterns in the 3D datasets will be studied and computational simulations will be used to decipher how atoms are interacting inside the materials and how this affects the physical properties of the materials.